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Effect of premolar and molar occlusal angle on feed digestibility, water balance, and fecal particle size in horses

James L. Carmalt MA, VetMB, MVetSc, DABVP1, Nadia F. Cymbaluk DVM, MSc2, and Hugh G. G. Townsend DVM, MSc3
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  • 1 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.
  • | 2 Linwood Equine Ranch, Carberry, MB R0K 0H0, Canada.
  • | 3 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether occlusal angle of the premolar and molar teeth (ie, molar occlusal angle) was associated with feed digestibility, water balance, or fecal particle size in adult horses.

Design—Observational study.

Animals—40 pregnant mares ranging from 3 to 19 years old.

Procedure—The horses were randomly allocated to 1 of 5 feeding groups with 8 horses/group. Horses were sedated, and molar occlusal angle was measured with 2 methods. An oral examination was performed, and total number of dental abnormalities was recorded. Feed digestibility, water balance, and fecal particle size were measured 7 and 16 weeks later.

Results—Molar occlusal angle ranged from 6.3° to 19.3° and was not significantly associated with feed digestibility, water balance, or fecal particle size. The number of dental abnormalities was not associated with feed digestibility. Molar occlusal angle did not vary significantly with horse age.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicate that molar occlusal angles between 6° and 19° do not adversely affect feed digestibility, water balance, or fecal particle size in adult horses. Additionally, there was no association between age and molar occlusal angle. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:110–113)

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether occlusal angle of the premolar and molar teeth (ie, molar occlusal angle) was associated with feed digestibility, water balance, or fecal particle size in adult horses.

Design—Observational study.

Animals—40 pregnant mares ranging from 3 to 19 years old.

Procedure—The horses were randomly allocated to 1 of 5 feeding groups with 8 horses/group. Horses were sedated, and molar occlusal angle was measured with 2 methods. An oral examination was performed, and total number of dental abnormalities was recorded. Feed digestibility, water balance, and fecal particle size were measured 7 and 16 weeks later.

Results—Molar occlusal angle ranged from 6.3° to 19.3° and was not significantly associated with feed digestibility, water balance, or fecal particle size. The number of dental abnormalities was not associated with feed digestibility. Molar occlusal angle did not vary significantly with horse age.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicate that molar occlusal angles between 6° and 19° do not adversely affect feed digestibility, water balance, or fecal particle size in adult horses. Additionally, there was no association between age and molar occlusal angle. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:110–113)